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Olympus xD picture card compatibility troubles

Since purchasing my Olympus SP-320 digital camera, my two biggest complaints are:

1. Eats up AA batteries for breakfast.

This digital camera should have been designed to take three AA's instead of two. Granted, if you take nothing but pictures alone (which is what it was designed to do), the batteries will last all day. However, record any video with it and it'll suck the life right out of it - literally.

Solution: I keep video recording to a minimum and buy 24-packs of Ray-O-Vac AA batteries at Wal-Mart. It's only eight bucks for these and it takes me a long time to go thru them. I keep the package behind the seat of my truck because whenever I need them, because I usually only need the camera when I'm out and about somewhere.

Tip to anyone with this camera: Don't bother buying lithium ion batteries. Stick with the cheap-o's. You'll save a ton of money.

2. Stupid proprietary USB port.

The SP-320 has a mini-USB port that only works with the cable provided with the camera. Want a spare? There are none available.

. . .

So anyway, the battery thing I can deal with.

The USB cable thing has always bothered me. What happens if this cable ever fails? Am I doomed to never get the data off the camera and into my computer?

I figured there must be a solution to this. So I headed over to Ritz Camera at the Citrus mall in Tampa. I spoke with one of the salespeople. They didn't have that specific Olympus USB cable. I wasn't surprised because no one else has it either.

They did, however, have a 20-in-1 USB card reader. I was told by the sales guy that it would fit xD picture cards.

Cool!

I bring it home, unpack it, and...

The stupid xD card won't fit in it. This 20-in-1 card reader can literally fit every other format except xD.

(sigh..)

I bring it back. The sales guy was surprised because this card reader is supposed to be compatible with everything.

However, there was an alternative.

Another USB card reader was available that was xD only. And it was five bucks cheaper.

Ritz Camera refunded me for the 20-in-1 and sold me the xD-only card reader.

Success! It works.

Price: $20.00

Yeah, I know, that sounds like a lot - but in reality it isn't because if I wanted another one of those stupid proprietary USB cables from Olympus, it almost costs the same price.

This little xD card reader plugs into any standard USB port on any computer. You pop the xD card out of the SP-320, insert it into the reader, plug into the computer and ta-da, all the data is available.

I'm happy that I now have an alternative means of getting the data off the xD card.

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